“Technology changes the pace, pattern and scope of human interaction, communication and behavior,” my professor proudly recited over the podium during the first day of my Media, Culture & Society class. Although at the moment, I rolled my eyes and released an exasperated sigh, mentally tossing the quote into my pile of hot air sayings that professors dish out on the first day of class that have little or no relation to the information that we will be covering for the duration of the semester, I didn’t realize that this exact quote would haunt me for weeks to come.
Allow me to start by saying that I love modern technology and new media just as much as the next girl. I swear by my MacBook Pro. My Samsung Galaxy may as well be permanently attached to my hand. I thank God for my tablet on the regular. I love the way that Facebook allows me to connect with friends and family members that I don’t get to see often. I enjoy sharing dialogue with new and interesting people on Twitter. I cherish my ability to offer pals a glimpse of the world through my eyes via my Instagram page. However, I’ve got to admit that when it comes to dating, the very inventions that I praised just seconds ago, I loathe with a passion. As an early 20-something-year-old woman, I can’t say that I’ve been in the grown-up dating arena for long, but I can say that in my opinion, these inventions have put a huge damper on the whole process and is slowly taking the the thrill out of getting to know someone new.
For one, I believe that the overexposure to a person that new media provides seems to make many of us lazy. We don’t really have to put forth the effort to get to know a person because their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram pages make snapshots of their lives readily available to us. His zodiac sign, birthday, alma mater, place of employment and so on can all be learned with the simple swipe of a finger. Remember the days when you had to actually call and ask your love interest how his day went? These days all you have to do is pull up his Facebook page or Twitter timeline, which will more than likely provide you with an instant play-by-play regarding all of the highlights of his day. If you’re lucky, while scrolling through your Instagram feed you may even be privileged enough to feast your eyes on a beautiful brightly filtered image of what he had for lunch.
Then, there’s the immediate access to a person that new media provides. Owning a cellular phone means that you’re never alone, never apart. When was the last time you missed your love interest? I mean sincerely missed him? Text messaging makes that nearly impossible! I don’t know who said texting a person all day was romantic, but I’d like to meet that person and give them a piece of my mind. If we’re constantly shooting back and forth SMS messages about the menial details of our days, what’s left to talk about on the phone? Or better yet, in person? Where did mystery and excitement go? Text messaging also greatly diminishes the emotional connection that usually comes with communicating with a person. Call me crazy, but I sort of miss the days of not being able to speak with someone all day and anticipating getting home so that I could call them. I even miss calling a person’s house and hearing that they’re not home. The immediate access the new media provides has left me feeling rather smothered to be quite honest. Too much, too fast, too soon.
I met someone recently and I can honestly say that he was one of the most interesting people that I have met in a very long time. I looked forward to getting to know him. Following our initial colorful and mentally stimulating conversation, I eagerly anticipated that more would follow, but after just one date we fell into the never-ending text conversation. You know, the one where you fall asleep, wake up and pick up wherever the conversation left off? After a few weeks I was totally over it and had to ask myself how something that showed promise of being so exciting got dry so quickly? As I scanned through our text history, I instantly felt cheated. Information that would’ve taken weeks worth of phone calls and a handful of dates to learn about looked back at me from my cell phone’s illuminated LCD screen. I fell into new media’s sticky web… again!
Technological advancements, especially when it comes to communicating, have made life so much easier in various different ways. But when it comes to human interaction, just maybe they’ve made life too easy.
What do you think? Has new media helped or hurt us when it comes to dating and relationships?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.